Queensland tourism hotspots recognised for outstanding achievements
Sunshine Coast tourism operators shine at the Queensland Tourism Awards held on November 24, a tropical night of glamour in the beautiful tropical city of Cairns in North Queensland.
After another ground-breaking year for Queensland tourism operators, the Queensland Tourism Awards were back on 24 November for a tropical night of glamour in the beautiful tropical city of Cairns in North Queensland.
There were 31 award categories ranging from attractions, events, tour and transport operators, accommodation, restaurants, culture and marketing. Across the 31 categories, 78 operators were awarded including 31 Gold, 26 Silver and 20 Bronze.
Sunshine Coast operators Creative Tours took GOLD for two categories – Excellence in Food Tourism and Tour and Transport Operators.
Sunshine Coast also dominated the Hosted Accommodation category with three wins:
Sunshine Coast Economy Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said the awards acknowledged the outstanding customer experience each of the operators provided for their guests.
We have three of the best hosted accommodation places in Queensland, so if you need recommendations for family and friends you must have a look at these stunning locations, Cr O’Pray said.
Visit Sunshine Coast's campaign promoting the Sunshine Coast as ‘Australia's Craft Beer Capital’ and took home SILVER in the Richard Power Award for Tourism Marketing and Campaigns.
From the many awards presented on this night, there were four new businesses entered into the Queensland Tourism Industry Council’s Hall of Fame – Fun Over 50 Holidays - Immersive Tours and Adventures, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Paronella Park and Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience.
For a first this year, the awards introduced the new category called ‘Excellence in Accessible Tourism’. This award recognises the businesses that are providing services that go above and beyond to accommodate for people with disabilities or specific needs.
Striking Gold for Excellence in Accessible Tourism was the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort with its unforgettable reputation for being one of Queensland’s leading resorts when it comes to accessible holiday accommodation.
Among these higher achievers is a Brisbane local, Hailey Brown who has been awarded the Stephen Gregg Award for Young Achiever of the Year. Hailey is a Queensland entrepreneur who has become a catalyst for change in the tourism industry by creating a tour guide app that is fully audio, allowing people with vision impairment to have an audio guide to the world.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Brett Fraser said the Queensland Tourism Awards was a significant event for the state as it recognises the outstanding achievements of Queensland’s tourism industry including businesses, events and individuals.
“While we have seen some record-breaking statistics in the last few years, it has been a whirlwind for the Queensland tourism industry so it’s important that we celebrate the industry’s achievements,” Mr Fraser said.
“According to data collected by Tourism Research Australia, we saw 25.3 million domestic and 1.6 million international holiday-makers choosing to travel to Queensland in the 12-months to June 2023.
“The tourism industry is one of a kind and doesn’t come without its challenges and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council takes pride in advocating for this industry by using these awards to showcase the achievements of our operators.”
Queensland ended the 2022/23 financial year with an overnight visitor expenditure of $4.3 billion in international tourism, outperforming the national average by 2 per cent.
The State welcomed 1.6 million international visitors this past financial year, with the largest market of visitors coming from across the ditch in New Zealand and having an average overnight spend of $212 million, which is an almost 50 per cent increase since pre-pandemic.
Domestic tourism in Queensland saw total visitation of 25.3 million, equalling a massive 16.4 per cent increase on the previous year. Of these millions of domestic visitors, the domestic overnight visitor expenditure shot up to $28.8 billion which is a 46.8 per cent increase. 
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Queensland Tourism Awards celebrated another extraordinary year of accomplishments.
“Congratulations to award winners and finalists for creating world-class visitor experiences and helping to make 2023 an extraordinary year for Queensland tourism,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Queensland’s place as the nation’s favourite holiday destination and record $33.2 billion visitor economy are a credit to the ingenuity and commitment of the State’s tourism operators.
“Thank you to BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort for their leadership in all-abilities visitor experiences and as winner of the Palaszczuk Government’s inaugural Excellence in Accessible Tourism Award.
“Our gold award winners are on track to put Queensland in an unbeatable position for national recognition at the Australian Tourism Awards in March.”
Select category winners will gain automatic entry into the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, which will be held in the Northern Territory on Friday 15 March 2024. Next year the Queensland Tourism Awards will be held at The Star in Brisbane.